Air Costa of Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, took to the skies for the first time at 07:45 on October 14, 2013 as flight LB601 departed for Bengaluru. The E170 is one of two E-Jets that the airline, a division of the LEPL Group, acquired to launch new air service that will link underserved secondary markets with primary cities that are mostly in the southern part of the country. Air Costa Chairman and Managing Director, Ramesh Lingamaneni, said that “regional air services have a lot of potential in India, especially as the economy of the South Indian cities is booming.”
The airline has taken delivery of two E170s configured with 7 seats in Business Class and 60 seats in Economy Class. Two new 112-seat E190s will join the fleet by the end of the year. The airline plans to increase the fleet to 25 airplanes by 2018.
As the E170s started flying, Air Costa CEO Captain K.N. Babu told representatives from the media that “the sectors that we plan to operate are presently served by turboprops. With a faster and quieter aircraft such as the Embraer E-Jets, we would be able to serve them (passengers) better and convert them into our loyal fliers.”
Air Costa is flying its E-Jets to 6 cities: Vijayawada, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Chennai. Future cities include Goa, Pune, Madurai and Vizag.